Destinations

Top 5 Reasons utah is Flooding

Most of Utah flooding concerns come as a result of springtime snow melt that usually takes place between March and May. Snowmelt can cause rivers and streams to swell and overflow.
Flooding Concerns

Most of Utah flooding concerns come as a result of springtime snow melt. This melting usually takes place between March and May. Snowmelt can cause rivers and streams to swell and overflow. Here are five points of concern in regards to spring snowmelt in Utah:

Rapid snowmelt: If in a given year temperatures rise quickly after a full winter of snow, the melting of snow can happen quickly and as a result overwhelm local rivers and streams. 

Saturated and frozen soil: Soil absorbs moisture, with too much, the soil becomes oversaturated and is unable to absorb any additional water from the snowmelt, this leads to increased runoff and flooding. The temperature of the soil can prevent absorption and result in runoff as well. Additionally, the water content in the soil is undergoing its own warming process and contributes to the amount of spring snowmelt.

Rain: April showers bring May flowers… and spring runoff. Rain on top of snow can bring really beautiful waterfalls as pictured below at Zion National Park. This sudden influx of water can also cause flooding. 

Blockages: When debris such as fallen trees, rocks, or other obstructions block the flow of water,  a dam-like effect can occur and lead to flooding upstream. This can also lead to flooding later on when the blockage is dislodged and the water is released below. This is something that can be seen for example in slot canyons. 

Urbanization: As cities and towns are developed, natural vegetation and absorbent surfaces are often replaced with concrete and asphalt. This can increase runoff and exacerbate flooding.

In Utah, the areas most at risk for flooding are typically in low-lying valleys and near rivers and streams. Some examples of these areas are the Jordan River, Weber River, and Logan River. The state does its best to prepare and help residents mitigate the impact of spring flooding such as flood control dams, levees, and sandbagging operations. Other ways to be prepared is to create an emergency response plan, have flood insurance, and to stay informed of weather and flood alerts.

Flash Floods

A flash flood is flooding that usually occurs as a result of heavy rain and isn’t usually directly related to spring snowmelt. The desert regions of Utah can be particularly susceptible to flash flooding as the dry desert ground is resistant to absorbing the abundance of water, resulting in runoff. It is important to understand the forecast when exploring the incredible desert and slot canyon areas of the state.
magnifiercrossmenu